Today’s “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn Part 26” will be another one of those where I discuss a random collection of games that are not connected to each other or even part of the same series. The only thing the games I will be discussing have in common are that they’re all movie tie-ins, and we all know the usual stigma surrounding those games: They typically suck. Let’s find out if any of the games I have chosen will be exceptions to that rule.
Superman Returns (PS2)
I was cautiously optimistic about this game when it first released a number of years back…emphasis on “cautiously”. This game was very loosely based off the (largely boring) movie of the same name starring Brandon Routh, but of course this game adds in actual villains for Superman to fight like Mongul, Metallo, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and others. What intrigued me the most about this game was how Superman himself was actually invulnerable, just like his comic book counterpart, but the city of Metropolis was not. This means players could let Superman get shot, smacked, and thrown around all they wanted with no fear of him getting killed, however, players had to concentrate on making sure enemies didn’t damage too much of city and empty out its health bar, or else it was game over. On paper this sounds like quite a unique and interesting gameplay feature, but in practice it simply did not work.
It really doesn’t take much to damage Metropolis. If just a handful of cars or light poles get destroyed in a fight, then the city’s health bar could easily deplete by a quarter or more. Even if Superman himself picks up a car or other piece of the environment and throws it at an enemy, it will damage both the enemy and the city. To make matters worse, enemies popped up all over the city non-stop, so while I was busy fighting one group of enemies to keep them from damaging too much of the city, another group of enemies halfway across the map had already depleted half of the city’s health bar. This was incredibly annoying. Even though Superman could fly at incredible speeds, probably this game’s best feature, the city of Metropolis was simply enormous and getting to a group of enemies sometimes took too long even for the Man of Steel. I just think this feature of making the city vulnerable rather than Superman himself could have been done better, perhaps by making the player focus on saving the lives of citizens rather than making sure the surrounding real estate didn’t get too scuffed up by collateral damage.
Some of this could have been looked over if the combat was more interesting, but sadly it wasn’t. Beating up enemies with the same moves like slamming them repeatedly on the ground or shooting them with Superman’s strangely weak heat vision could only hold my interest for so long. Even the graphics and controls were rather “meh”, so there really wasn’t much this game had going for it. In the end, I couldn’t stand playing this game for more than a couple of hours before I had to send it back to the video store (thank God it was a rental), it was simply far too flawed for me to waste any more of my time with it. Superman Returns gets a score of 40%.
Iron Man (PS3)
I hated this crimson colored scrapheap of a game. I know there are lot more well known and high profile games that are notorious for being outrageously horrible to play, like Atari’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but out of all the games I’ve played, nothing compares to Iron Man. Absolutely everything about this game is an embarrassment. Even other movie based games would feel ashamed of being placed in the same category as this slap in the face to the video gaming community. The combat, the graphics, the controls, what little voice acting I listened to, all the main qualities that can make or break a game are the absolute worst in this one.
The first level where you play as the less advanced Mark I Iron Man and blow up a bunch of terrorists was complete crap, and the fact I had to restart the level after getting stuck between a fence and a dirt hill was an early sign of the other crap I would experience later. Getting to play as the more advanced Mark II Iron Man in the next level wasn’t any better. Controlling Iron Man was a complete chore. Believe it or not, Iron Man flies around too quickly to fight enemies effectively and the extremely flawed aiming makes shooting enemies while flying around a virtual impossibility. One would think that remaining stationary by hovering in the air would help in being able to score a hit on flying enemies, but it doesn’t. Pressing the hover button even slightly too hard makes Iron Man shoot up towards the heavens, while pressing it too lightly has him drop back down to Earth like a stone; it’s damn near impossible to find the hovering sweet spot, and all I got while struggling with that nonsense was pelted by enemy projectiles.
Despite those difficulties, I managed to destroy all but one of the enemies in the second level, but when I attempted to do away with the last guy in order to complete the level, I found that he had glitched through the map and was stuck underneath the ground, making him “unkillable”. Fed up with this nonsense, I turned the game off and immediately took it back to the video store since this was thankfully another rental and not a purchase, nevertheless, that was $15 I lost that I still mourn to this very day. In short, this game is a perfect example of the well known stereotype of great movies making lousy video games. If someone forced me at gunpoint to point out something positive about this game, then I would say that the Iron Man character himself looked good and the environments were large and roomy. That’s it, there’s nothing else this game has going for it. Avoid at all cost. Iron Man gets a score of 10%.
The Bourne Conspiracy (PS3)
This game was a pleasant surprise for me. As a fan of the Jason Bourne movies (except the last one), as well as the many books based off the Jason Bourne character, The Bourne Conspiracy was a game I felt I should at least try. I rented this game, but unlike the two games I discussed above, I found this one to be worthy of a purchase. This game is basically the video game version of The Bourne Identity movie, but with a bunch of other action filled scenes thrown in, as is the usual procedure with movie-based video games. I’m just going to come right out and say that this game is linear and rather short, however, it’s also challenging and is full of fast paced action that rarely lets up. The story is extremely basic and operates under the assumption that those who play the game have already seen the movie, so there’s very little focus on the narrative. The graphics aren’t out of this world either, but that’s never been too much of a priority for me anyway.
There’s no upgrading feature with regards to Bourne’s fighting skills or weapons: Whatever moves he can pull off in the beginning of the game he can also pull off in the end. I wasn’t bothered by this though since, again, this game is fast paced and full of non-stop action. Combat consists of Bourne beating up enemies through melee combat with light and heavy attacks, as well as using takedowns that immediately bring down up to three enemies simultaneously through use of quick-time events. I find these takedowns to be particularly satisfying as Bourne will normally take out enemies by slamming them against railings and counters, or use nearby items like shovels, screwdrivers, and even an enemy’s own night stick. There’s plenty of shooting involved as well with pistols, assault rifles, and shotguns, and Bourne can also immediately kill up to three enemies with shooting takedowns through use of quick-time events. The quick-time events also come into play in other scripted events, but they’re done well so I didn’t find them to be bothersome. There’s a car chase mission after the game’s halfway point that changes things up a bit, but thankfully it didn’t overstay its welcome.
Some of the missions have some stealth involved too, though most of the time Bourne can just beat up the enemies patrolling the area should the player not wish to indulge in the sneaky stuff. The boss fights are the game’s high points for me, with Bourne fighting tougher enemies who require multiple takedowns to defeat and who hit harder than standard enemies. In the end, as far as movie-based games go, this one is pretty good, though in a more objective standpoint this game is pretty much slightly above average. I find the game to be a rather fun distraction when I want to kill a few hours and it really makes me feel like Jason Bourne with its unusually satisfying combat. The Bourne Conspiracy gets a score of 78%.
So ends this “special edition” of my feature focusing on two downright horrible games and one surprisingly good game based on movies. Join me next week for Part 27 of “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn” where I will go over a particularly good PlayStation exclusive series: Infamous. Check out these other pieces of literature on our site in the meantime:
Take a look at Kane’s “Games to Look Out for in April” right here.
Ian has prepared a review for the Xbox One exclusive video game/live action hybrid Quantum Break, so take a look at it over here.
Jorge revisits a favorite game of his that has been updated and released on the 3DS, Hyrule Warriors Legends, which you can find here.
Apparently dedicating himself to reviewing more than one game a week, Ian has prepared another review for a game called Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure, which you can take a look at here.
Further proof of Ian’s possible reviewing obsession is provided by a third review he insisted on writing on a mobile game called Bitmite Blitz, which can be found here.